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Christmas tree like a red rag to a bull


SEOUL (SE): A Christian group in South Korea announced on November 27 that it will refrain from putting up its giant Christmas tree on a hilltop which is clearly visible from inside the North Korean border.

Agence France Presse reported that it has bowed to pressure from local residents near the regular site of the tree that it is really like a red rag to a bull and in the current atmosphere could well provoke a few volleys of shells from Pyongyang.

The Military Evangelical Association of Korea had planned to set up the giant display on three tree-shaped steel towers on hills near the heavily fortified border.

Since the spot is within three kilometres of the border, the proposal requires approval from the defence ministry.

A spokesperson for the ministry said that local residents had protested against the plan on the grounds it might provoke a military response from North Korea.

Pyongyang has repeatedly condemned the tree as psychological warfare aimed at spreading Christianity to the hermit kingdom north of the demilitarised zone.

In 2004, the two Koreas agreed to halt official-level cross-border propaganda and the south stopped the border Christmas lights completely.

However, they were resumed in 2010 after North Korea shelled a frontline island, but were postponed last year in a conciliatory gesture following the death of a North Korean.

Many Church people in South Korea have long regarded the giant Christmas tree as being deliberately antagonistic and not particularly in the spirit of the season.


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